Primecoin (sign: Ψ; code: XPM) is a cryptocurrency that implements a proof-of-work system that searches for chains of prime numbers.

Primecoin logo
0.001mXPM (millicoin)
0.000001μXPM (microcoin)
0.00000001Smallest unit
PluralPrimecoin, primecoins
Date of introduction7 July 2013[1]
Central bankNone, the primecoin peer-to-peer network regulates and distributes through consensus in protocol.
InflationLimited release, production rate before this limit re-evaluated with the production of every block (at a rate of approximately 1 block per minute) based on the difficulty with which primecoins are produced.

Launched on July 7, 2013 by anonymous hacker and peercoin founder Sunny King, Primecoin was the first cryptocurrency to have a proof-of-work system with a practical use. Earlier cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, were mined using algorithms that solved arbitrary mathematical problems, the results of which had no value or use outside of mining the cryptocurrency itself. Primecoin's algorithm, however, computed chains of prime numbers (Cunningham and bi-twin chains), the results of which were published on its blockchain's public ledger, available for use by scientists, mathematicians, and anyone else. Use of a proof-of-work system to calculate chains of prime numbers was an innovation that produced useful results while also meeting the criteria for a proof-of-work system: it involved a calculation that was difficult to perform but easy to verify, and the difficulty was adjustable.[1][2][3][4][5]

Shortly after its launch, some trade journals reported that the rush of over 18,000 new users seeking to mine Primecoin overwhelmed providers of dedicated servers.[1][6]

Unlike Bitcoin, Primecoin targets a block generation period of one minute rather than every ten minutes, changes difficulty every block rather than every 2016 blocks, and has a dynamic block reward that is a function of the difficulty. Primecoin transactions are confirmed approximately 8–10 times as fast as Bitcoin transactions.[2][5]


  1. Clark, Jack (2013-07-16). "Virtual currency speculators shut down cloud". The Register. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  2. Franco, Pedro (2018-10-21). Understanding Bitcoin: Cryptography, Engineering and Economics. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 175–76. ISBN 9781119019145. Archived from the original on 2018-11-17.
  3. Pirjan, Alexandru; Petrosanu, Dana-Mihaela; Huth, Mihnea; Negoita, Mihaela (2015). "Research issues regarding the Bitcoin and Alternative Coins digital currencies". Romanian-American University via Romanian-American University via Gale. Archived from the original on 2018-11-17. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  4. Peck, Morgen E. (2014-04-29). "Bitcoin Vies with New Cryptocurrencies as Coin of the Cyber Realm". Scientific American. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  5. Gibbs, Samuel (2013-11-28). "Nine Bitcoin alternatives for future currency investments". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  6. Miller, Rich (2013-12-17). "Currency Miners Cause Spot Shortages of Dedicated Servers". Data Center Knowledge. Retrieved 2013-12-18.

Further reading

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